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Movie Review Monday on Tuesday

I had every intention of publishing this yesterday, but sometime between getting up too early, dealing with cranky kids, making breakfast for my brother and his wife, and doing laundry, I lost track of time. Oh, well. Here it is today!

Salt (2010)

I'm not a huge fan of spy movies. I'll watch 'em, but I don't go out of my way. I was a little surprised at this film. It had the regular intrigue, gun play, explosions (my favorite), but it also had a really nice twist.

The story is about Evelyn Salt, a CIA agent who has worked hard for her country. One day, an ex-Russian spy shows up at their headquarters and tells a story about sleeper agents. He tells her that someone is going to assassinate the Russian president, then pronounces the agent's name is Evelyn Salt. Salt needs to find a way to clear her name and get the other agents to believe that she's not a Russian spy. Mystery and intrigue follow.

I was really impressed with the story. Bringing back the Cold War stuff was interesting, especially since we've supposedly buried all that ill will. I can't really say too much more about the film without giving something away. So, if you haven't seen it and have some time on your hands, it's worth it!

Survival of the Dead (2009)

I put this on my list because it's a George Romero film, and I'm a huge fan. I didn't expect much out of it, and that's pretty much what I got.

The film follows a group of soldiers who go AWOL and start pillaging other humans to survive. They find their way to an island off the East Coast, where they run into a feud between the Muldoons and O'Flynns. From there, they must find a way to survive the zombies and the humans.

As is typical of Romero, the focus is not on the zombies but on the reactions of the human counterparts. Sadly, though, it didn't have the heart or characterizations of his first films. Plus, for a zombie film, there weren't an overt amount of zombies, but there was a whole lot of talking.

I got his point. The Muldoon family didn't want to kill the zombies because they were hoping for a cure or just hoping there would be a way for the zombies and humans to live with each other. He would chain up his family members because they remembered how to do simple tasks, such as cooking or delivering the mail. Muldoon was hoping to teach them to eat something other than humans.

It was an interesting idea: wondering how much of the zombie's humanity was lost when they became the undead, but it just didn't play out well onscreen. It was slow and a little boring. Maybe if he had switched the focus from the rogue soldiers to Muldoon, it might have made more sense. It wasn't a complete waste of time, and it did give me something else to think about.

This Week in Writing

I finished my paranormal romance and sent it to my reader. She's hoping to have it back to me by Tuesday, so I'm hoping to have edits and what not done by the end of the week. Then, it's off to the editor!

I've been working on my YA zombie sequel in the mean time. I have two chapters done and have started the third. It took me a little while to get back into the story. I think my mind was focused on the other stories I needed to write because once they were out of the way, the writing got a little easier. It was either that or the fact that I kept telling myself it is just a draft. If you haven't noticed, that's my new mantra!

One of the things that made getting back into the story so difficult was getting back into my main character's head. It's told in first person, from the perspective of a 17-year old girl. I haven't been 17 for a long time (ugh! and I wouldn't want to be!), so trying to recapture her voice and the voices of the other characters has been challenging. Basically, I've decided to get the story down, then I'll reread "Life After the Undead" and go back into the sequel and make the proper character adjustments. It's all about the language and keeping it consistent.

From the topic of language, let me transition into my nonsequitor story of the week. I always try to watch my mouth around the boys, especially since they repeat everything they hear. That is not always an easy task for me. I have a really foul mouth.

Anyway, the other day I was taking the boys to daycare. There was a truck behind me who sped up to get around me, then realized he was in the wrong lane, so he had to shimmy in front of me. I'm a defensive driver, so I let him in and made some comment about "Yeah, maybe you should pay more attention to how you drive, D-bag!" (And I did say "d-bag." Remember, watching my mouth.) From the backseat, the 4 year old says, "Yeah, D-bag, we're trying to get to daycare!"

Do you have any idea how dirty that word sounds when it comes out of the mouth of a babe? It was funny, and I chuckled, but he can't say that. I imagined him running around with his little daycare friends saying, "Hurry up, d-bag! You're so slow, d-bag!" (or what have you) and then the teachers rinsing his mouth out with soap. So, regaining my composure, I explained to him that was a naughty word and only adults could say it, although I should probably quit saying it myself. Thankfully, he understands. And I didn't hear anything from daycare, so I'm sure he didn't repeat it!

So what is my point? My point is that if you get angry or upset this weekend and need to call someone a name, just use the real cuss word. Even if there are kids around, they know they're bad words, they know not to say them. When you try to sugar coat them, that's when you get into trouble! Have a fabulously long weekend!

Getting Closer

As my Facebook friends know, I heard from the publisher yesterday. Life After the Undead was supposed to go to formatting last night. With any luck, I will have a proof I can look at this weekend. Keep your fingers crossed!

Two deadlines are also coming up today and tomorrow. One is for Hellology and the other is for Code Z. In case you were wondering, yes, I got my stories in. I have no idea when I'm supposed to hear about their fate, but I will let you know. Keep your fingers crossed on those, too!

I would also like to give a shout out to my friend Tamara, who is in the final stretch of finishing her novel (it's her second). She's worked long and hard on it (who hasn't?), and she's almost done. It is such a wonderful feeling of accomplishment to get to that place. Plus, her book turned into a monster. A MONSTER! So she had her work cut out for her. Goooooooo, Tamara! Almost there!

Other than that, I really have nothing to talk about today. It's been one of those weeks where I haven't been sleeping well, so my brain isn't functioning properly. I'm really looking forward to the 3-day weekend. I hope to relax a little!

"Green Water Lullaby" by Lori Titus

I first met Lori years ago, when I did my first radio interview. She maintains a blog that publishes short stories called "Flashes in the Dark" (you can click on the link in my blog list). "Green Water Lullaby" is a collection of short stories. Here's the blurb:

Vengeful lovers return from the grave. People die from “animal attacks”. And a young family fights for survival. Welcome to Chrysalis, South Carolina.

I really enjoyed these stories, but I found myself wanting more. I wanted to know more background about the characters. I wanted to know more about what they did after their lives were changed forever. For example, what did the guy do after he was turned into a werewolf? How did his brother react? I also wanted to know what the "natural" witch did after she was discovered. How did the woman cope after her boyfriend was killed by a ghost?

Making the reader want more is the mark of a good storyteller. They make you care enough about the characters to see what happens to them. Sometimes, they'll take you there, but sometimes they just give you a snapshot, a moment in the character's lives, and it's up to your own mind to decide what happenes next. Lori does a great job of giving the reader that snapshot in her collection.

My favorite story was the title story, which happened to be the last story in the book. It had a universal quality to it, and I think anyone reading it could relate in some way. It was heart-touching and sad, but also uplifting. (I don't want to tell you too much because I want you to experience it for yourself!)

If you have some time, I recommend checking out these stories. They are a great introduction to a talented writer.

Lori was also kind enough to answer some interview questions for me. Here they are:

Q) What inspired you to write this book?
Green Water Lullaby was a challenge that I set for myself. I had focused most of my energy on The Marradith Ryder Series for several months, turning out about three new episodes every week. Because the story involves so many characters, time periods, and back stories, it can be time consuming. To keep myself from getting too stuck in that universe, I decided to start writing one short story a month that had nothing to do with the Marradith serial.

I wrote Brotherhood first, and created the fictional town of Chrysalis, South Carolina. I decided that I wanted to develop more stories in this locale, and they all flowed from there. The theme of water and wooded areas made nice recurring threads through all the stories.

Q) How long did it take you to write the book?
It was pretty fast. I’d say the first draft took about four months or so , with the title story taking the longest . After that it was a matter of getting some distance from the stories before I was ready to show it to an editor, and that process took a few weeks.

Q) Can you talk about the book's evolution and publishing history?
Yes. Green Water Lullaby was originally published in 2010 by Sonar4 Publications. Unfortunately, the company only sold the book on their website, with no availability on Amazon or other internet retailers. After the publisher refused my requests to try different sales venues with the book, I requested my rights back. Green Water Lullaby is getting it’s second breath of life through Wicked Nights.

Q) What are you trying to get across or understand as you write?
Emotion. I am always fascinated by what makes people feel the way that they do, and how feelings and perception, in turn, effect their actions. I like being able to create a character that people can identify with, no matter how different they may be from the reader. I like characters with depth, flaws, and contradictions.

Q) Why do you write?
I started writing as a way to exorcise my fears, and sometimes that is still the reason. But more than anything, it’s fun. Don’t get me wrong, it’s work. There are times when you can’t get a fix on what you want to write, and other times when the words are coming so fast that you’re rushing to type them. There is just something that is satisfying about the process. You get to reveal your dreams, your inner world to your readers, and hopefully they come in and enjoy themselves for a while.

Q) There seems to be a focus on paranormal/ghost stories in the book. Was that intentional or do you just have an affinity for the genre?
I do have an affinity for the paranormal. It fascinates me for some reason. In Green Water Lullaby, I wanted to make sure that all the stories had a pervasive uneasiness. I like stories that are psychological enough to make you wonder if the character could have imagined it, even though the evidence indicates the contrary.

Q) What other kinds of genres do you write?
I have written mysteries and sci-fi as well, but horror is always where my heart is. I find that when I write other genres, usually a hint of the fear manages to creep in, despite my best efforts at keeping a distance from it.

Q) Do you have a favorite story that you've written?
It’s a hard question, not because I don’t want to name one, but because my favorite changes, depending on my mood. Of my short stories, Green Water Lullaby is my favorite. There was a story published in Jim Bronyaur’s #12 Days of Christmas last year called Four Little Birds, that’s a very close second. Lazarus was my first novella, and it remains a favorite for many reasons.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
I have three new novellas coming in the near future. Hailey’s Shadow will be the first, which will be released in September 2011. It’s about a young woman who claims that she can see and hear “shadows” that foretell the future. In November 2011, the first novella from the Marradith Ryder Series will be released. It’s called The Moon Goddess, and it takes place outside the time period of the web series. The story revolves around a young woman named Lenora and her doomed romance with Percy, a man who will do anything for money and prestige, including murder.

The third novella is called Marradith, Darkly, and will be released in February, 2012. It’s a re-imagining of The Marradith Ryder Series, a sort of upside-down universe. In this story, Marradith is on the side of the bad guys. And there are a lot of other surprises people who have read the serial will find. Readers who have never been exposed to the online story will be able to go along for the ride and enjoy it as well.

Tough Question Tuesday

If you could pick ONE song that defines your life, what would it be?

Mine would be "Amazing" by Aerosmith.

Movie Review Monday

I watched two movies this weekend. I would like to say it was a laid-back weekend, but it wasn't. We were very busy. The movies were my only form of relaxation!

Priest (2011)

From the first moment I saw this trailer, I knew I wanted to see this movie in the theater. I have to say, I was not disappointed.

It's a vampire story, but a different kind of vampire story. Instead of being humans that have been cursed, they are a separate species that evolved alongside man. Humans and vampires are in constant battle with one another, and the vampires always win because they are stronger and faster. Then, the Priests show up. They are our only saving grace. After the war, the humans are forced to live in the cities, so the church can protect them, and the vampires are placed on reservations. The vampires decide to rise again, and they kidnap Lucy, who is the niece of a Priest. Going against the Church's wishes, he leaves the city to save his family.

The film was a combination of several different genres, including Western, Science Fiction, Horror, Creature, Martial Arts, Steam Punk, and probably a few others that I'm missing. On top of that, it was a great social commentary about the Crusades and religion and faith, but I won't get into that right now.

I really enjoyed the film. Visually, it was stunning. It definitely had the feel of a graphic novel. The plot was well done and had a great twist in it (part of the twist I figured out from the beginning, but it was pretty obvious!). The creatures were interesting, and the bad guy was wonderful (although, I probably biased because of the actor who played him. I love him!). I highly recommend this movie.

Saw 3D (AKA Saw 7) (2010)

The beautiful thing about the first Saw film was that it was different. It shocked audiences with graphic displays of torture and cruelty, but it still had a plot line. The villain was especially devious because he orchestrated the pain, but never actually committed it. If the victims wanted to survive, they had to hurt themselves. It twisted who the audience sympathized with and the perceptions of right and wrong.

The other films weren't too bad, but by the time you get to this one, it's pretty much played itself out. It still has a decent plot, and it ties up all the loose ends nicely, but it's been done. The shock value has pretty much worn off. It's grotesque and gory with violence and chocked full of deaths, but that's about it.

If you enjoy the Saw movies, I'm sure you'd enjoy this one because it answers everything. And I'm sure if I had watched them from the beginning, it would have made more sense. I found myself struggling to remember little details from the first film. All in all, I didn't feel like I wasted my time, but I am glad they (probably) aren't making any more.

The Week in Writing

I finished a draft of my paranormal romance story. I don't think it turned out as bad as I thought it would, but the readers will have to decide that. I have one more read through, then it's off to my beta reader (*waves* Hi, Amber!). It should be to the editor by the end of the month. I will keep you informed of when the anthology is coming out.

My next project will be going back to the zombie sequel until I get edits for the nonfiction. Phew! It's going to be a busy summer, but that's how I like it. Idle minds something something.

Speaking of staying busy, last night was bath night. As I was taking the boys out, they were very hyper and being kids. I was getting frustrated because all I wanted to do was lotion them, but they were being squirmy and squealing. I'm sorry, not squealing, full out screaming, in an enclosed, echoey space. I'm positive my ears were bleeding.

Anyway, right as I'm getting to full on angry, the 2 year old rips this long fart. You know, the type that rattles his cheeks. He starts laughing, so the 4 year old starts laughing, which of course makes me laugh. He starts straining and pushing like he's trying to force another one out, but I'm convinced he's going to poop, so I make him stop. A little while later, another toot creeps out. Again, we all find it hilarious. I'm laughing so hard I'm on the verge of tears. All I can think while this is going on is how flatulence is always funny, and thank goodness I have boys to keep me in gas for the rest of my life!

I hope you have a great weekend, and if you find yourself angry or frustrated, I hope something happens to break the tension!

Clearing Things Up

After thinking about it for a while yesterday, I realized that the book I read wasn't about Sasquatches, it was about Neanderthals, and was entitled Neanderthal. It's easy to see where the confusion came in. So, Bigfoot War was the first book I've read about Bigfoot, but it won't be the last. I'm definitely reading the next two installments and the comic!

I also wanted to tell you a little bit about making comments on my blog. A while back, I had to turn on Comment Moderation because I was getting spam in my comment box. (Really? You have to spam comment boxes? Get a life!) So, if you leave a comment and it doesn't automatically appear, it's because I have to approve each one. It will be there eventually, as I hope some of you have noticed, so don't let that discourage you from commenting!

And speaking of clearing things up, I can't wait until the weather decides what it's going to do. Monday it was a balmy 60 degress and lovely, today it's snowing. Normally, I don't mind the snow, but I'm a little tired of it right now. I'm ready for warm weather and the chance for the kids to play outside. It will be here soon enough, but not fast enough!

"Bigfoot War" by Eric S. Brown

My first contact with Mr. Brown was as a copy editor. I had the pleasure of working on his novella, "The Human Experiment." (It's a really good story. If you get the chance, you should check it out.)

I've seen "Bigfoot War" advertised by him numerous times on Facebook, but I never had the chance to read it. Finally, I just said screw it and ordered it on my Kindle. It was a really quick read, even with my busy schedule, so that was nice. Here's the blurb:

Jeff Taylor was an ordinary boy growing up in the small town of Babble Creek, North Carolina, until one night his life was changed forever when a sasquatch brutally murdered his family. Taylor fled the town, hoping to leave the painful memory behind. Years later, after two tours of duty in the Iraq War, he's back in Babble Creek seeking vengeance. Taylor's lust for the blood of the monster that slew his family sets in motion a series of events that soon has the entire town fighting for its life as a tribe of sasquatches descend from the forests and hills into Babble Creek to declare war upon its citizens. Babble Creek is about to find out Bigfoot is very real and there's more than one of the creatures that want to fill the streets with blood.

The story is very fast-paced and full of death. I was actually a little surprised at how many people die in the book, and in spectacular fashion. However, Mr. Brown does a very nice job of keeping his story "clean." By that I mean he doesn't rely on cussing and gore for the sake of gore. Now, I'm not saying that cussing or gore are bad, I've read my share of books that have both (and that is one of my favorite kinds of movies), but sometimes it's over the top, sometimes it's there for the shock value, and that wears off pretty quickly. Mr. Brown kept his story about murderous monsters classy. If you're wrinkling your brow and confused by what I mean, I suggest you pick up the book and find out for yourself!

If there was any thing wrong with the story, it was that things seemed to happen too fast at times. For example, when the first Sasquatch dies, it seems to happen in the blink of an eye. There isn't a lot of detail. As the turning point in the story, it would have been nice to slow the scene down, to see exactly what the characters saw, feel what they were feeling. I wanted to be able to picture it in slow motion, hear their hearts beating with fear, feel the sweat pouring off their backs.

Other than that, it was a very interesting book. I've only read one other novel about Bigfoot, and it was so long ago I can't remember what it was called. I'll try to remember and let you know. Mr. Brown has two more books in the series planned, and he just signed a contract to create a Bigfoot comic (I'm so getting that when it comes out!). I definitely recommend checking this out!

Mr. Brown was also kind enough to be interviewed. Here is what he had to say:

Q) What inspired you to write this book?
ESB: I have been a lifelong fan of Bigfoot horror movies. I have watched just about everything out there. Also, growing up in the south, Bigfoot really gave me the creeps. But for all the movies, there was never one that really gave me what I wanted to see. I wanted a movie/book where a whole freaking tribe of the monsters came out of the woods and filled the streets with blood. That's what Bigfoot War is. My fanboy dream put on paper. It's a Bigfoot tale with an end of the world feel.

Q) How long did it take you to write the book?
ESB: Bigfoot War took me around three months to write. Bigfoot War II: Dead in the Woods, which is set for release soon, took about the same. The last book of the trilogy is taking much longer though.

Q) Can you talk about its evolution and publishing history?
ESB: I am not sure what you mean by that so I will talk about how it's effected me. For years, I wrote zombies. Almost everything I wrote was about the walking, hungry dead. I wanted to try something new so I focused on a monster that scared me. The book was SO fun to write and has so much success, I write more Bigfoot stuff now than I do zombies.

Q) What are you trying to get across or understand as you write?
ESB: I put FUN above all else. I am not trying to be literary, pound a message into my readers' heads, or anything like that. I just want to tell a story that moves you and lets you escape this world for a bit.

Q) Why do you write?
ESB: I write because I've always wanted to be a writer, I enjoy it, and I love the genres I work in. Horror has been a part of my life since I was 4 or 5 years old. It got me through my own dark childhood and still keeps me going as an adult.

Q) Do you enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, etc.?
ESB: I enjoy comic book stores, coffee, and movies. Ha. I am not really much of an outside kind of guy. My wife now, she's loves that kind of stuff.

Q) Have you ever been on a Bigfoot hunting expedition?
ESB: Only make believe ones as a child. If I went on one as an adult, I would want a bloody big gun with me no matter what the science today says about Bigfoot. He may be peaceful, he may not but either way, I would take a hulking gun just to be sure the hunt was going to be safe.

Q) If the answer to the previous question was NO, would you ever go on an expedition?
ESB: I would indeed if they gave me a big enough gun.

Q) When can readers expect the next two books in the series to be published?
ESB: Book II is in the final edits right now and should be out in mere weeks if Coscom moves quickly. As to Book III, there is no date yet. I am still working on it. However, Coscom is releasing an anthology that I edited entitled Bigfoot Among Us to fill the gap between books II and III. I am also at work on other Bigfoot related projects I can't talk about yet.

Tough Question Tuesday

How many tattoos do you have and what are they?

I have five.

1. Alien (like from the movies with Sigourney Weaver)
2. Predator (like from the movie with Arnold)
3. Machiko Noguchi (woman who hunted with Predators and killed Aliens)
4. Face hugger
(Are you sensing a theme yet?)
5. Rat with wings

Movie Review Monday

Devil (2010)

I can't even remember the first time I heard about this movie, but it was a while ago. My friend Tamara sent me a link for the trailer on imdb.com (I tried to put the link in, but Blogger seems to be having some issues. Or maybe it's my compter. Either way, I can't do it!). It was right around the time I was writing all my Devil-made-me-do-it stories, so she thought I would be interested. She was right.

The story was written by M. Night Shyamalan and focuses on five people who get trapped in an elevator. The narrator tells us that his mother used to tell him stories about how the Devil would sometimes take human form to torment souls before he collected them. These five people are his next collection, and we watch as they are tormented and killed. A detective and security officer are trying to save them, both physically and spiritually, but in the end, they are the ones who have to save themselves.

The movie was pretty good. It was only an hour and a half, which was just right because there is only so much you can do with people trapped in an elevator. It didn't rely on CGI or the creation of a monster to scare you, it played on religious beliefs and your own imagination. The tension was very well done in the film. You felt the characters' fears and unease and really wanted the fire department to hurry up.

It had its share of old-fashioned jumps and twists. The relationships between the characters was very well drawn, even if you didn't have extensive backgrounds for each. The reaction to being stuck in that type of situation played out very nicely on the screen, and they did a great job introducing the paranormal without it seeming hokey. If you haven't already seen it, I recommend checking it out.

This Week in Writing

I signed two contracts this week. One last Friday and one on Monday. The first one was for a novelette (vampires), and the second was for a novella (religious zombie story). I will keep you updated on when those will be out.

I finished the zombie story I wanted to do for the anthology. Originally, the deadline was today, but they extended it until May 27. Since I already had it in my mind that I needed to get it done, I just got it done. One less thing on my plate.

I was working on the paranormal romance, but put that aside to do the zombie thing. I will pick that back up this weekend.

I also sent my nonfiction manuscript to the editor. He's hoping to have edits back to me by the end of June. I'm very excited for that, but I will be keeping myself busy until then.

I hope you all have a wonderful and productive weekend!

My New Toy

I wanted to take a moment and tell you all about my newest toy. My spouse bought me a Kindle for Mother's Day. I have to say, I LOVE it! The only problem I have is figuring out what books I want to buy. (Seriously, it took me days to decide. Then, I went with one of my friends books, "Bigfoot War." As soon as I'm done, I plan on doing a review and interview.)

I was a holdout, I'll admit it. I always said that I would never join the electronic revolution because there is nothing like the feel of a book in your hand. It is a nice feeling, and one I will probably still enjoy, but I had to be realistic. Where was I going to put all of them? My shelves at home are practically full, and I don't have the space to buy anymore. This seemed like the logical solution. (Plus, there's the whole production cost and using less trees and the authors getting more royalties...) (Although, there is the issue of copyright and how the big companies contract for rights, but that's another blog...)

For those of you who already have one, I'm sure you're saying, "Duh! We could have told you that!" Well, why didn't you? Why weren't you pushing harder for me to get one? Slackers.

I have to say, one of my favorite features on the thing is the progress bar on the bottom. I think everything should come with a progress bar. I'm trying to figure out how to incorporate it into my own writing so I can see how far I've progressed. If you have any suggestions, let me know!

Slipped My Mind

A while ago, I mentioned that I was going to do a writing workshop. I told you that details would be coming later, so here they are. It's called Launch Pad, and it's a week long class where authors learn how to incorporate astronomy into their science fiction.

I never even heard about this workshop until I went to the local sci fi convention. Basically, their goal is to take prominent sci fi authors and teach them real astronomy and how to incorporate that into their fiction. Their hope is that by doing this, it will stop perpetuating myths and give the audience some factual information. They try to get authors who are well known in their field, as they have a larger audience and greater influence. The workshop is actually funded by NASA, and they pay for the authors to come here. I get to go because I don't cost any money and I can shuttle them around town!

I'm very excited about this whole experience because I'm going to meet a lot of cool people and learn some fabulous stuff. Networking is the lifeblood of the industry, and this is the perfect opportunity. I'm also really looking forward to it because science fiction is my first passion. My first book was sci fi, and I love watching and reading it. But I feel like I don't have any good ideas for a story, which is why I haven't written anything lately, so I'm hoping this will kick start my brain.

Squeeee! I'm so ready for July!

Tough Question Tuesday

What is the weirdest thing you've been in your dreams?

I've been a cartoon, I've been the opposite sex, I've even been dead and watched people attending my funeral. The other night, though, I dreamt I was a zombie. Normally, I dream about zombies when I'm stressed and I'm being chased by them. I haven't been stressed out lately, so I wonder what it means when I am a zombie? Either way, I wasn't a very good one. I was shot by the Army right as they were unloading from the truck!

Movie Review Monday

Before I get to my review, I would like to update you on Life After the Undead. I heard from the publisher over the weekend, and she's hoping to get it to format by this weekend. I don't really know what that means, but I'm hoping it will be for sale by the end of the month. I'll let you know!

Easy A (2010)

Ah, high school. How I do not miss thee. I still don't understand why people claim high school is the best part of your life. If it is, you have some really sh*tty times ahead of you. Don't get me wrong, it had it's moments, but college was waaaay better! (Actually, I'm finding my life right now is pretty dang sweet and I'm *gasp* in my 30s!)

This film did a nice job of portraying the cliques and rumor mill of high school, and I really liked the main character. Sarcasm is such a fabulous personality trait! I've been out of high school for 15 years, but I could still recognize each of the groups they were talking about. It's really sad to think things haven't changed, but there is a universality/timelessness to Olive's situation.

The story is about Olive, who tells her friend that she slept with a freshman from community college just to get her to shut up. As you can imagine, that rumor is quickly spread around the school. At first, she embraces the idea of being the new center of attention, but then things go awry and get out of hand.

The film was very funny, yet heartfelt. They reference a lot of 80s movies, which is fun, especially if you grew up watching them. The relationships between the characters was very well drawn, and it did a great job of portraying teen angst. But it was also more than that. I don't really want to dive into a social breakdown/commentary of the film (maybe later I will), it was just a really fun film.

Has anyone else seen it? What did you think?

Sick as a Dog

Sorry I haven't posted for the last 2 days, but I've been sick. I have strep, so I spent all day in bed yesterday hoping I would die. I'm feeling a little better today, but I'm not 100%. Things will get back to normal next week! Have a great weekend!

When It Flows, It Flows

There seems to be a moment in my writing when I get tripped up. The plot stalls or a character has some issue that I can't figure out. I wind up staring at the screen, trying to figure out what happens next, and nothing comes to mind.

It's not writer's block exactly. I know how the story is going to end, I just don't know how to get there or I think the path I've taken isn't ideal. It's more of a confidence issue. Normally, I can overcome it by just plodding through, telling myself, "It's just a draft. You can fix it later." Sometimes, though, I have to step away.

Usually when I step away, I will work on another project, something completely different from what I'm stalled on. This happened to me yesterday. I was working on my paranormal romance when I hit a snag. Instead of getting frustrated, I moved on to a zombie story. Man, that thing just gushed out of me! I love it when that happens.

Like I said, a lot of it comes down to confidence. I know I can write zombie stories (whether they are any good, well, that's a different debate!), but I'm unsure about paranormal romance. I don't read romance, so I'm not exactly sure how the characters are supposed to act. I keep thinking the audience is going to read it and realize I'm a hack. A voice at the back of my brain keeps telling me that my story sucks, so I get stuck. (Does it really suck? Maybe, but I'll never know unless I get it on paper.)

I have to tell myself that my take on a romantic story doesn't have to fit the mold of the genre because it's not what I normally write. I tell myself I'm bringing in something new, something different, that fits who I am as an author. With any luck, the audience will like it. If not, well, I stick to what I'm good at!

Moving onto a different story, one that I know I can write, also helps boost my confidence. It makes me think, "You can do this. You're adaptable, you're skilled. Just go for it!" It also gives me time to look at it from a different perspective. As soon as I'm done with zombies, I'll be ready to get back to romantic ghosts!

Tough Question Tuesday

What are some of your favorite "classic" novels?

I have several, as you can imagine. I was an English major, so I had to read a bunch of them for school. Some of my favorites include "Alice in Wonderland," "The Great Gatsby," "Wuthering Heights," and "Frankenstein." I'm sure I could go on, but I think that's a good enough list to get us started!

Movie Review Monday

Get Low (2009)

If you're looking for a calm movie that explores the depths of humanity, then this is the movie for you! It has Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Bill Murray, and Lucas Black.

The film is about Felix Bush, a strange hermit that's been living on the outskirts of town for 40 years. As expected, he's the topic of rumors, and kids like to come to his property to throw rocks at his windows. Everyone has a story about him, but only two people know the truth (Felix and a preacher named Charlie). Felix decides he's going to have a funeral party, while he's still alive, so he can set the record straight about his life.

As I said, this movie was pretty calm. There weren't any gun fights or superheroes, but there was a raging fire at the beginning. It was a really interesting movie. It did a nice job of creating a mystery and keeping that mystery intriguing throughout. As you watch the film, you formulate an idea of what you think happened, but it does a nice job of twisting that expectation. It explores the notions of guilt and forgiveness and how the characters deal with both.

It also explores how people deal with the unknown. Since no one knew anything about Felix, they made things up, and they were generally scary stories. But, as it says in the film, there are two sides to every story. By the time you discover the truth, you feel very sorry for Felix (actually, you feel sorry for him throughout, but there are moments when you're like, "Hmmm, what did that jerk do?").

It wasn't overly long, either. An hour and a half, I believe. Some parts seemed to drag a little, but it was worth it in the end. If you have some extra time, check it out. Has anyone else seen this film?